Bonus Episode! Fiona elaborates on two familiar but not friendly figures - the questionable James Hamilton, Lord Hamilton, and the dreamy James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose.
Writer and Presenter: Fiona Barnett @stitchthisfiona
Producer: Emily Benita @BenitaEmily
Technical Producer and Sound Engineer: Ali Alnajjar @Alithelampie
Historical Consultant: Mary Jacobs @msmaryjacobs
Music Composer and Performer: Harry Harris @CmonHarris
It’s always difficult, sorting through history with the purpose of pointing it at other people, to decide who the most important people are to focus on. So I’ve decided to embrace my bias and go straight for the ones I like most.
Montrose seems to be everyone’s favourite - a dashing, principled, poetry-writing military genius, who reportedly got got all the girls running round after him while he was an undergraduate. It’s rather sickening. On the other hand, Hamilton seems to be remembered mostly for pursuing his own interests first and foremost, and for trying to mediate between Crown and Covenant to his own advantage, but ultimately being mistrusted and sidelined by both sides. Their stories seem to oppose each other so exactly that it’s hard to wonder how much of each is true, and how much comes from people throughout history wanting a satisfying story to tell. As Montrose’s star rose, Hamilton’s fell - and then they died within a year of each other. For real life, it’s unusually poetic.
One of the things that influences who my favourites are is being able to picture them - and both Hamilton and Montrose have recognisable portraits that seem to turn up everywhere. You may recognise a younger Hamilton from my sandal-related conspiracy a few weeks ago, but here they both are:
Everyone’s historical boyfriend… (I mean, look at him. Look at him!)
…and the man whose self-preserving interests ultimately just weren’t good enough.
Charles I - 1600-1649; King of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1625-1649. Leader of the Royalist (Cavalier) faction; ultimately beheaded for treason.
Hamilton (James Hamilton, Earl of Hamilton) - 1606-1649. A personal friend of Charles I, he tried to mediate between Charles and Argyll. Both Royalist and Covenanter sides mistrusted his motives, and few of his attempts at negotiation had any success. He was eventually captured, tried, and executed by the English Parliamentarians.
Montrose (James Graham, Marquis of Montrose) - 1612-1650. A signatory of the National Covenant, but ultimately one of Charles’s most effective military leaders in the civil wars. Hanged and beheaded by the Covenanters in 1651. After the restoration of Charles II, he was remembered as a folk hero and martyr.
Argyll (Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll) - 1607-1661. Leader of the Scottish Covenanters, and chief of the Campbell clan. Nemesis of Montrose, both politically and militarily. Ultimately beheaded by Charles II for being too close to the English interregnum regime. His head ended up on the same spike that Montrose’s had been impaled on.
Lord Henry Ker - 1599-1643. Younger son of Robert Ker, first Earl of Roxburghe. Royalist and friend of Montrose, responsible for the plot to kidnap Hamilton, Argyll and Lanark known as “The Incident”.
- Buchan, John. Montrose. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., 1928; and electronic edition, Perennial Press, 2015.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, “James Hamilton, First Duke of Hamilton”, <https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Hamilton-1st-Duke-of-Hamilton>, accessed 04/10/17.
- Encyclopedia Britannica, “James Graham, Fifth Earl and First Marquess of Montrose”, <https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Graham-5th-earl-and-1st-marquess-of-Montrose>, accessed 04/10/17.
- Plant, David. The BCW Project: British Civil Wars, Commonwealth & Protectorate 1638-1660. www.bcw-project.org.
- Royle, Trevor. Civil War: The War of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660. London: Abacus, 2004.
- Scally, John. “James Hamilton, First Duke of Hamilton”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/12087>, accessed 04/10/17.
- Stevenson, David. “James Graham, First Marquess of Montrose”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/11194>, accessed 04/10/17.
- Wedgwood, C. V. The King’s Peace 1637-1641. London: Collins, 1955.